Space Kus

This poem was the winner of the 2006 June Shenfield Poetry Award, open to all higher education students at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, and set up in memory of former Swinburne student June Shenfield.
& if i ever do learn a word of dutch
     as in really learn it learn its body
          then the only word i want to know
               is kus this beautiful word for a kiss
          or is it to kiss as in the verb to be
     to be a stranger in the mouth of
another language another way of
     breathing after all isn't that just
          another way of writing language
               the way the mind breathes air &
          creates tangible concepts like to
     be as in i am or we are they're not 

& then to move on to know plurals
     as in kussen the verb couple to be
          a pair of kisses against my lips as
               in the curve of this chocolate egg
          to know space between two kisses
     & to understand the possibility of
breathing meaning into chocolate
     chickens or word lovers in dutch
          after all there are several points at
               which our languages rest against
          each other like two tired bicyclists
     kissing forever in a quiet lane

& to know the space of this space
     the physical meaning of a word not
          meant to live in a dictionary but in
               the mouth to move through dutch
          like stars through unexplored space
     after all isn't language like a shiny
spaceship forever tumbling toward
     the kus the kussen the be the to be
          bright & exploding stars our lives
               full of curved static words we wish
          to move between like stations on
     space lines our destination kussen

& if i ever learn the word for kus 
     in my own half language in which
          i could have been born to be to not
               be heard to speak without hearing
          the smack of that kus against the
     porthole spaces to hear it coming
or departing perhaps upon arrival
     i will breathe that air called dutch
          & know its velocity its private kus
               in between kussen as soft shadows
          born of lips parse what is felt into
     being to be i am to kiss to be alive


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